Inclusive Communication - Safeguarding Children and Young People with Disabilities
This half day conference was underpinned by our goal of putting the child’s lived experience at the very centre of what we do and by the belief that that participation can be protective and supportive for children and young people.
Participation can be protective
“Not working with young people is a risk in itself for our knowledge and their recovery” (YRAP)
- Effective participation can support children to understand their identity, make sense of the past and build lasting relationships.
- For children who have experienced disruption, harm, danger or trauma, being seen and heard is crucial. It is the job of child and family professionals to ensure this happens
We delivered this conference for professionals as a direct response to what C&YP told us earlier in the year…
Focus on changing attitudes about disability – awareness / education for all
- Promote enabling attitudes from early on (child to adulthood)
- Raise awareness of barriers (physical and attitudinal)
- Provide more training for those working with C&YP with disabilities
- Communicate in a variety of accessible formats
And it is vital that we feed this back to C&YP – that we heard them, this is the influence they have had and that we did this because of what they said.
Legislation requires that the wishes and feelings of children are ascertained and given due consideration when making decisions about providing services to meet a child’s needs and to do this safely we need to encourage and shield
- Encourage C&YP to participate in matters affecting them, seek their opinion about what we are doing for them
- As well as (so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child’s welfare) shield them from the harsh reality of abuse
Speakers referred to the United Convention on the Rights of the Child throughout the day and we felt that particular efforts should be made to enable participation of young people not heard as often and the views that we seek represent the diversity that exists in Cornwall.
We need to hear from all children, especially those with fewer opportunities, those who are vulnerable or affected by discrimination…
Article 23 of the UNCRC relates to children with a disability – “A child with a disability has the right to live a full and decent life with dignity and, as far as possible, independence and to play an active part in the community”.
The Lundy Model suggests that if participation is to be effective, meaningful and sustainable, it needs to be understood as a process and not a one-off event, it requires ongoing commitment in terms of time and resources – it’s a dynamic and evolving process and what we learnt here today will keep that work going.
We asked you to think about how young people in your area are enabled to participate:
- in decisions about their own support and care?
- in work with peers to influence change?
- in influencing research, policy, and practice collectively?
How can you prioritise time, rapport building and trust in your relationships with young people?
The suggestion is that professionals talk to young people about this. How could you share this model and way of working with young people, and listen to their voice about it?
Click this title to view the speaker videos from the day
"I took a huge amount from the event, and, judging the responses of those attending, I don’t think I was the only one. Thanks for bringing to life such an important topic and linking it into Article 12 of the UNCRC. It was a really well-crafted day with great inputs that were really thought provoking. The videos were amazing and will stick in my mind for a long time to come. We were able to use learning from the conference for a conversation we held the very next day so it shows just how relevant it was”
John Clements OSCP Independent Chair
Some children and young people need support from friends or trusted adults to make sure they are able to communicate their views and feelings.
Click this title to view some of the top tips from children and young people in Cornwall
Adults have a responsibility to make sure that happens and the Me First communication model also provides advice about how this should be done.